Pin It
Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye, New York City
via Instagram/@joytothepolls

Watch Patti Smith sing ‘People Have The Power’ to voters in New York

The punk icon was joined by her longtime lead guitarist Lenny Kaye for an impromptu singalong

As voters headed to the polls in New York City this week, they might have been spurred on by an impromptu performance of Patti Smith’s “People Have The Power”, courtesy of the punk rock icon herself. Alongside her longstanding lead guitarist Lenny Kaye, Smith has taken to the streets to perform an acoustic take on the political anthem from her 1988 album Dream of Life

An Instagram post shared by the election group Joy to the Polls shows the impromptu performance turning into a group singalong, providing passersby a particularly timely reminder about using your voice in today’s presidential election: “The people have the power / the power to dream, to rule / to wrestle the world from fools.

“Don’t forget it,” Smith concludes in the video. “Use your voice. Vote!”

Though the musician doesn’t express a preference for Joe Biden or Donald Trump during the performance, she has previously been outspoken in her opposition to the latter, particularly taking aim at his failure to deal with – or even really acknowledge – the climate crisis

Having expressed admiration for activists such as Greta Thunberg for their climate campaigning, Smith says of Trump in a 2019 interview with ITV: “What he’s done to our environment, his lack of comprehension of the importance of the global conversation about our environment… it’s like every single day, one can be angry, humiliated, or shocked at the things that he does.”

Watch her performance of “People Have The Power” below.